Energy Saving Tips

Top 10 Energy Saving Tips

  • Convert to a heat pump. Add a heat pump to any electric, gas or oil furnace to take advantage of a "dual fuel" heating system. The electric heat pump will heat your home much more efficiently for most of the winter heating hours. Your new heat pump will also serve as a new air conditioner and could save you up to 50% on your cooling costs, compared to a 15-year-old air conditioner.
  • Plug those leaks! On a cold, windy day, do you feel the breezes blowing through your house-especially near trouble spots such as wall outlets, windows, doors and fireplaces? As the cold comes in, your heat (and your money) flies away. You can stop this heat loss quickly and easily with low-cost materials. On windows, use clear weather strip tape along the gap where the glass meets the frame and to seal any cracks. On double-hung windows, tape over the pulley hole and use rope caulk between the upper and lower windows. To stop leakage under exterior doors, roll up towels to block the breeze or buy an inexpensive door sweep. If the door leaks around the entire frame, install foam weather stripping with adhesive backing between the door and the frame. Use caulk to seal along the basement sill plate and around door and window frames. Also seal little holes around water pipes and stuff insulation into big holes around plumbing fixtures. Heat leaks out of light switches and electrical outlets, too. Inexpensive foam gaskets that fit behind the cover plates easily solve this problem. Remember, every hole you plug means fewer drafts, a cozier home and lower heating bills.
  • Close your damper. Most fireplaces that are open to the living space will increase winter heating costs. Keep your fireplace damper closed tightly when not in use. Consider installing doors over the fireplace opening to cut down on drafts and heat loss through the chimney.
  • Program your thermostat. Keeping your home comfortably cool can account for 50% or more of all your electric use during the air conditioning season. Over cooling will waste energy and money. For each degree below 78 degrees you will use five percent more energy per degree. During the cooling season, program your thermostat to allow the temperature in your home to increase five to seven degrees while you are sleeping and while you are out for the day. During the heating season, allow the temperature in your home to decrease five to seven degrees while you are sleeping or are out for the day. Use ceiling fans in the summer and extra clothes/blankets in the winter to stay comfortable. If you are leaving for several days, set the temperatures back even further. Also, registers within each room for supplying and returning air should not be obstructed with furniture or draperies. Keep the air flowing freely for more efficient and economical operation.
  • Regularly clean or replace your filter. All forced air systems have filters that keep dust and dirt from blowing into your house. If not periodically cleaned or replaced, dirty filters can greatly affect the efficiency of the system and waste electricity. Some filters are disposable; some can be washed and reused. Do not reuse disposable filters. New ones can often be purchased for less than a dollar. Each month of the heating and cooling season, clean or replace your filters.
  • Minimize your heat gain in the summer. Use heat-producing appliances (oven, dishwasher, dryer) during early morning or late evening hours to cut down on the amount of heat generated inside your home. Doing this will cut down on your air conditioning needs.
  • Switch out your incandescent light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs. Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs use up to 75% less energy than standard bulbs and last up to 10 times longer, while LEDs are even more efficient.
  • Lower your water temperature. Your hot water is probably hotter than necessary. Most heaters are set at 140 degrees F, and this high a setting is only needed if you have a dishwasher without a booster heater. Turn the temperature down to 120 degrees F (medium setting on a gas heater dial), and you'll cut your water-heating costs by 6 to 10%. Most electric heaters have both an upper and a lower thermostat to adjust. Be sure to first turn the electricity off at the circuit breaker.
  • Replace your shower head. A standard shower head sprays you with up to 8 gallons per minute of hot, steaming water. Replacing it with a quality low-flow shower head will allow you to use only 1 to 2 gallons of water-and you'll hardly notice a difference-except on your utility bill! Low-flow shower heads cost between $10 and $20 and pay for themselves in about four months by reducing water consumption and energy used to heat the water.
  • Discover the cold water wash. Water heating accounts for 90% of the energy used by washing machines. Washing in hot water costs 20 to 40 cents per load. That adds up, and it's not necessary, except for special loads such as diapers or stained work clothes. Try washing in cold water using cold water detergents, and wash full loads whenever possible. And on sunny days, use the clothesline instead of the dryer.